Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams acquired the Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins via A trade last week. Acquiring Watkins and giving up a top defensive back and A high draft pick, clearly sent the message that head coach Sean McVay was not sold on his receiving corps on vertical routes. This moves shocked, the headlines shortly after the decision was released on the fate of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot.
Watkins, the number four overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, was selected two picks later after the Rams selected Auburn’s offensive lineman Greg Robinson. Robinson later turned out to be a total disappointment to the organization, as he too would be traded to the Detroit Lions doing teams OTA’s.
Personally, I felt the team needed depth at the wide receiver position even though it was one season after drafting Tavon Austin. simply the free-agency route hadn’t really worked out in our favor over the years adding receivers from free agency. The choice of my selections was Sammy Watkins, who selected fourth overall by the Bills, but, my favorite choice was for Mike Evans, from Texas A&M, who was selected seventh overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Rams would select again at number 11, selecting their current all-pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who is currently holding out from camp.
The Rams have particularly corrected the issue of acquiring the recently injured Watkins, who reported to the Rams, that he has 100% fully recovered from his foot injury sustained last season. Watkins was very happy to be in Los Angeles and very astound to be reunited with his former counterpart in Buffalo, receiver Robert Woods. Both players spoke highly of each other, and quickly were made roommates doing training camp.
Rams General Manager Les Snead rolled the dice on this trade and simply hit a home-run with this acquisition, in my opinion. Obtaining Watkins will simply add more wins to the Rams record this up becoming season, as we all are optimistic about this occurrence. The Rams will easily win five additional games this season to finally put them over that 13-year slide of finishing under .500 for the season. I’ll discuss why this will occur for the Rams this 2017-18 football season.
Below, you can view Watkins collegiate highlight film of the various things he was capable of doing as a player on the field. He was used as a running back, a receiver, a passer, and also as an explosive returner in the return game. Watkins versatility at Clemson made him a very dangerous player to scout against, but the team was also loaded with other skilled players.
At the 2014 NFL Combine, Watkins was very impressive in his 40-yard dashes by running well under 4.4 seconds, in fact, he posted two 4.3 times in the 40-yard dash. His speed simply gives the Rams offense that dynamic vertical stretch that the team has been trying to locate. He will just blow the hats off the top of the defenses in less than no time, as Goff has the opportunity to show off his big arm. He will create separation off the line of scrimmage in jam coverage and still beat the defender deep. He can be used to run the Tavon Austin jet sweep and take it the distance at any given time. The old saying “speed kills” absolutely is what the Rams get with a healthy Watkins on the field.
Sammy Watkins Collegiate Highlights
Watkins is a very polished route runner, from the wide-receiver screen to crossing routes; he seems to find the way of getting open. With quick feet and hips, it’s amazing how he’s able to disappear from the sight of the defensive back. As a vertical threat, he stretches the field and will beat the defender 95% of the time. However, his slant routes, out routes, and comeback routes, he tends to turn the defender around creating the separation to be in the position to catch the ball, just ask Darrelle Revis. Third down play he can be a definite go-to receiver, but with his resume, he will make the other receivers around him better.
Watkins simply does not drop any balls thrown in his area. Possess great hands in which once he touches the ball, 98% of balls thrown to him are swallowed into his basket. Great ability to make the acrobatic catches balls under or overthrown requiring him to layout to catch. Have great feet work of once NFL great wide receiver Chris Carter, by displaying ballet moves, standing on the tip of his toes to complete his reception inbound. What about catching the ball in traffic? Not a problem, with his 200-pound frame, he will still come up with the reception. Watkins will go across the middle and make the catch and can take it the distance.
Watkins has played in a total of 37 of a total of 48 games throughout his career. He rookie season he was shy of 1,000 yards by 18 yards on 65 receptions. He currently has 153 receptions, for 2,459 yards, 10 games over 100 yards receiving, and 10 total career touchdowns.
Comparing his stats to his new Rams teammate Tavon Austin who was selected one season prior, you will see the numbers are simply in Watkins favor. Austin has played in 59 of 64 total games; he has a total of 181 career receptions for 1,642 yards, and a disappointing one game over 100 yards receiving, and 12 receiving touchdowns. The receiver who was drafted for his speed has yet to have the breakout games as expected.
Watkins will make Tavon a better receiver on the field with the speed of the two, it brings firework to an offense that has been banned by the league's defenses.
RED ZONE KILLER
Watkins aggressive route running, strong hands, and leaping ability makes him a huge red zone target as a receiver. Whether it’s in double coverage, bump and run, or going into traffic, he seems to find the way to come down with an acrobatic catch for the touchdown. With his polish route running and elusive moves, he creates the opening to catch the ball for a touchdown, as seen in the video below in today's practice.
Sammy Watkins Abuses Troy Hill In Red Zone For Touchdown
Head coach Sean McVay really has his hand tied with the amount of talent that he has at the wide receiver position. But, whatever decision he makes it will definitely be a tough one decide. In my opinion, it looks as if he can carry seven receivers on this roster, with one being used as a return man. The opening day depth chart can see these receivers on the 53-man roster:RSS Feed
Sammy Watkins, Tavon Austin, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh McReynolds, Mike Thomas (suspension), Nelson Spruce. Doing the Thomas suspension phase, you can see Shakeir Ryan making a strong push for that seventh spot with his return capability and impressing every one catching the ball.
The Rams are definitely set up to win at least 10 games this season, and this how they will get it done. The run game has simply become better with Watkins. Goff has the opportunity to kill the defense in a short passing game to where they can no longer afford to put eight in a box loading up to stop the run. The versatility of rookie fullback from Virginia Tech, Sam Rogers, as a lead blocker creates more running room for Todd Gurley to run through. The defenses will no longer be able to stack the line with the weapons they have at receiver.
Watkins legitimately gives them a red zone target that he will win the majority of plays when the pass is placed in the right location. Lining up a Watkins, Austin, and Kupp on one side of the field will create mix matches all day long. This will be the time that McVay can become creative with Gurley in a run/pass option to him out of the backfield
The defense with an Aaron Donald can keep the Rams in many games if the offense is not performing, but one big play by Watkins can spark this team’s offense in a hurry. I’m very excited to see what will they do with him against the Raiders, a team he has caught 10 receptions for 113 yards and an 18.83 yard per catch.
The direction of this organization is moving in a great way and the Los Angeles Rams fans are set to have a great treat this season. Many teams in the NFL will see that this young Rams team will no longer be a pushover, and will fight to make it to the playoff for the first time since the 2004 season.